Category Archives: van maintenance

Tips for buying a used van

When you buy a new van that has just come off the production line, there is an argument that because you are the first owner, you are not buying other people’s problems. You can feel secure that it is in pristine condition, and you can use the extensive warranty that you have been given for any problem.

There is, however, a lot to be said for buying second hand. For a start, it is cheaper, and you could pick up a bargain. To ensure that you don’t purchase a vehicle that will cause you problems, certain essential checks are useful to know.

The body

Examine the bodywork for is rust. This may be easy to see if it is on the wings and sills, but also check underneath the wheel arches and don’t forget door frames. By pressing on a rusty spot, a sure sign of corrosion is if you hear a crunching sound. If not, it is just superficial.

The suspension

A van’s suspension should allow the vehicle to bounce once, before returning to a stationary position. If it doesn’t do this, you may have problems with a shock absorber. Always take a test drive before committing yourself to a sale.

Lights

If these are not working or are flickering, it is an indication that the electrical system isn’t healthy.

The air conditioning system

If this is not functioning correctly, then it could cost a lot of money to fix. Check this and the van’s heating system.

Braking

On your test drive, find a piece of straight road and see how the vehicle stops. Listen particularly for any grinding or squealing noises. The van should also stop in a straight line and not pull to the left or right.

Tyres

If there is wear on the tyres, this should be even. If not, then it a sign that maybe the tracking needs adjusting or there is a problem with the suspension. Check that there is a ‘proper’ spare tyre.

The engine

Look for smoke and listen for any strange sounds.

Steering

This should be responsive with no free play.

The cabin

Make sure that there are no warning lights on the dash that are lit up, and also try out the seat belts.

After doing all of the above checks, take a long look at the service history.

Finally, make sure you buy your second-hand van through a reputable dealer.

Ensure Trouble-Free Driving with Proper Car Engine Maintenance

Car parts (2)

The engine is, quite literally, the driving force of a car. Although a full engine replacement is possible, in reality when an engine fails it’s usually time to consign the entire vehicle to the scrap heap. Even before things get to that stage, an engine that’s running poorly is not efficient, which not only costs more to drive, it makes for a more frustrating and uncomfortable journey. Bearing this in mind, keeping your car’s engine in good working order as you go with proper maintenance is vital if you want to enjoy years of happy driving.

Oil Issues

Without oil, your engine will soon collapse into a clanking, screeching mess of tortured metal before seizing up completely. Ensure your oil levels are kept high enough by checking them regularly, and don’t rely on your dashboard warning light to remind you to top up – by this time, damage may already have been done.

Over time, the quality and efficiency of your oil will start to degrade, and the oil will start to pick up dirt and debris which it will pass on to your engine parts. Prevent this by changing your oil regularly so that it stays clean and retains its lubricating power.

Finally, if you find you need to top up your oil levels more and more often, take this as a warning sign that there could be a fault somewhere causing leaks – get it checked out urgently, as a serious oil leak can cause fatal engine damage with little warning.

The Cooling System

An overheating engine is still the most common cause of a car breakdown, but it’s not just a nuisance when this happens: if your engine is regularly running too hot, its lifespan will be drastically reduced. It’s vitally important to ensure that the levels of liquid coolant in your engine’s reservoir are kept at the proper level, and that there are no leaks in the system. Also, keep an eye on the various belts, fans, and hoses which are visible within your engine compartment – if they look worn, cracked, or even overly dirty, then either replace them or have them checked out by your mechanic.

Keeping in Tune

Although having your car serviced may seem like an unnecessary expense, skipping it will be a false economy if your poorly-maintained engine suffers a catastrophic failure. Schedule regular major and interim services, during which the engine tuning will be checked and adjusted if necessary to keep it running smoothly, as well as the overall state of the engine being inspected for early signs of wear and tear.

Today’s car engines are highly engineered marvels of power and reliability – help yours to stay that way by looking after it properly!

 

How to Look After Your Van

Citroen Nemo Van

Preventive maintenance is the most important thing you can do keep your van in proper working order and potentially save you money in the future. Carrying out these few simple procedures on a regular basis will insure that your van is running at optimal condition.

Firstly, start under the hood. Checking the brake fluid level is a simple but very important step in van maintenance. Brake fluid plays a crucial role in your van’s braking system. Keeping the fluid reservoir full will prevent brake failure and possibly even an accident.

Routinely checking the washer fluid reservoir is also a simple yet essential step in looking after your van. Neglecting the washer fluid can result in zero visibility, causing a dangerous and stressful situation.

Keeping water/coolant levels topped up is vital to your van’s engine to prevent over heating, or water freezing in the engine, resulting in expensive repairs.

Check the oil in between scheduled oil changes. Your van’s engine requires constant lubrication, and oil also has cleaning properties which help to reduce the dirt that clogs the engine openings. Low oil levels can cause extensive damage, and tremendous repair bills.

Lastly, tyre maintenance is key in regards to safety and economy. Under-inflated tyres can result in overheating, and over-inflated tyres cause poor handling on the roads. Tyre pressure ought to be carefully monitored to prevent dangerous situations. If need be, pressure should be adjusted in accordance with the van’s current load.

In addition to preventing unsafe scenarios on the motorways, regular checks of tyre pressures keep the treads from wearing too quickly or unevenly. Another reason to perform regular inspections of tyre treads is the fact that illegal treads can result in a fine, as well as three penalty points, which may mean an increase on commercial insurance payments.

Correct tyre pressures can equate to lower CO2 emissions coming from your van than those with incorrect tyre pressures thus reducing the environmental impact of your vehicle. Maintaining good tyre pressure could even save a bit of money at the petrol station.

Staying on top of these simple but essential maintenance routines can save you money, and keep your van running smoothly, and make it a safer place to be.

Tips for Saving Fuel When Driving a Van

 

Citroen Nemo Van

Tips for Saving Fuel When Driving a Van

Everyone who owns a car will have something to smile about when he/she finds a way to reduce fuel consumption. However, this seems like an impossible dream to many people. Surprisingly, any car can be tuned to save fuel yet offer the required power. There are different tricks one can apply to save on fuel that you may also want to learn. Below are few that will make your driving experience better.

Plan ahead
Before travelling to a destination, you need to review all possible routes that you can take. One of the things you should never ignore is the nature of the terrain and distractions along the way that can delay you. Even if shorter, a road that has potholes and rugged terrain will demand you step on the accelerator harder to give the car the required force to overcome the resistance. This will definitely cost more to fuel for the same route. Before travelling, choose a route that is not congested and ideal for smooth acceleration.

Use air conditioning sparingly
It may sound weird, but the minute you switch on the air conditioning you also activate fuel consumption to some extent. The air conditioning system will consume fuel; so if possible, you can keep it off especially when the conditions do not demand you use it. You can turn to alternatives like lowering your windows if there is a lot of heat.

Service the vehicle regularly
Servicing your vehicle in time will help to keep it efficient and reliable. If the car is kept in the right condition like changing ATF and engine oil in time, there will be no strain in performing different functions that help the car to move. Lack of servicing means the car will be struggling so as to attain its optimal performance, something that could mean going hard on the accelerator. The results are obvious: more fuel will be needed to give the power demanded.

Avoid unnecessary weight
Most people like adding modifications to their cars, maybe to make it look different, but all this is done without an ounce of knowledge that it would affect the performance of the vehicle. Adding weight to the car means the engine will be forced to push harder because it will now be working with weight that is more than it was made to carry. To compensate this power demand, you will be forced to press on the accelerator harder.

Clean Your Car Like a Pro

Citroen Nemo Multispace Front

How to Clean Your Car Like a Pro

Having your vehicle professionally detailed can make your car feel like new again. With the right materials, you can clean your car like a pro and make your car feel like new whenever you like.

It’s important to begin with the interior. The first task is to dislodge any dirt and debris from the cracks and crevices with an air compressor. Then, use a stiff-bristled brush to loosen any stubborn dirt from the carpet and upholstery. If your car has leather seats, apply a leather cleaner and conditioner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions accordingly.

Using your air compressor once again, blow any build up out of the car’s air conditioning and heating duct work. Doing this will rid the vehicle of dirt and dust that can cause musty smells, helping to give your car that new car smell. Follow this with a thorough vacuuming of the interior.

Wipe down the dashboard and use a protectant to guard against harmful UV rays and keep it looking fresh and new. Clean pedals with detergent, and use a non-acidic cleaner on tyres. After applying a degreaser to the wheels, you’re ready to clean your car’s exterior.

Begin by hosing down the entire vehicle to rinse away any surface dirt. Follow this by scrubbing down the exterior with a soft sponge or washing mitt and a liquid detergent. As always, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines with your cleaning products. With a toothbrush, or a small detailing brush, remove any dirt from the cracks of the car’s bodywork.

Once your vehicle is clean, it’s ready for a polish. Use an appropriate polish for all surfaces. Apply a metal polish where needed and a plastic polish to brake lights, indicator lights, and headlights. This will not only keep all of your car’s lights looking their best, but will make your vehicle safer on the road, as well.

Now that the polish has been done, protect your newly detailed automobile with a fresh coat of wax.

Lastly, clean all the windows. A household glass cleaner will do, though it is advised that you choose a cleaner that is ammonia-free. For the best results on windows, use a micro fibre cloth to remove residue and eliminate those unsightly streaks.

Now that you know how to clean your car like a pro, you’re ready to take it for a drive.

Van Maintenance 101

Tank

Whether your van is required for personal or professional use, proper maintenance is extremely critical to make certain that it continues to function optimally. While there are inevitably times when the vehicle will require professional work, the best way to avoid the bulk of unforeseen circumstances is by performing a few regular tasks. Let us take a look at some do-it-yourself habits to adopt.

The Engine

Of course, the engine always needs to be running properly. Oil levels should be checked on a regular basis; preferably once every month. The same holds true for transmission and brake fluid. Still, there are some other mechanical devices that will need to be examined. Every 3,000 miles, make certain that the fan belt is tight and not frayed. Take a look at any hoses. If they appear to be cracked or signs of wear are observed around their connections, they should be replaced. Nonetheless, there may be other signs which are difficult to diagnose. If you begin to hear squeaks, rattles, “pings” or if the colour of the exhaust smoke changes, bring your van to a repair shop.

Tyres

Check the treads of all tyres to make certain that they are not “bald”. Worn treads can present a real braking hazard and even decrease the efficiency of the van. Once every week (particularly if you use the van every day) check the pressure of the tyres to make certain that they have not deflated. Note that improperly inflated tyres can decrease their lifespan by as much as 20 per cent!

Windscreen

Even the smallest chip within your windscreen can quickly evolve into a major problem. Any fracture should immediately be rectified with the use of do-it-yourself windscreen repair kits. These can be found at your local automotive store. If the crack is larger than six centimetres, it is wise to take the van to a professional repair facility. Not only can a crack obstruct your vision while driving, but never forget that your van is not likely to pass an MOT inspection should an imperfection be present.

Of course, you should also take a look at your headlamps and warning lights; these will fail from time to time. Proper van maintenance is an important responsibility that must always be taken seriously. By doing so, you can be assured that your vehicle will provide you with years of reliable service.

How Often Should I Maintain My Van?

postal delivery courier in a van showing thumb up hand sign

How often you maintain your van depends on how important its longevity is to you, and if ensuring a high resale value is a priority. Regular maintenance, however, is also necessary to ensure that your van runs without any problems during your ownership. The three most important things to regularly check are the coolant, oil and tires.

* Oil: When you check the oil, make sure that the colour is as dark as treacle and that it is clean without any bits in it. Any change to the colour or consistency of the oil should be immediately investigated.

* Coolant: Coolant is extremely important as it safeguards your van against overheating and damaging the engine and other mechanical parts under the bonnet. Top up as soon as you notice that the levels are running low to avoid your engine overheating.

* Tires: Regularly maintaining the tires is vital to ensure that your van performs as well as possible. Low tire pressure means that your van will consume more fuel. The tread on your tires should also be regularly examined as bald tires are illegal.

Keeping your van properly secured with alarms and locks is another sensible way of protecting your investment. Deter nosy opportunists by having tinted windows or curtains. Using a heavy-duty immobilizer in the ignition circuit will stop the fuel flow and hopefully act as a deterrent to any thieves in the vicinity. Make sure that your van does not look like an easy target, as a botched burglary attempt can easily damage the appearance of your van and have a negative impact on its resale value.

Lastly, remember to keep the interior looking spruce by using protective covers and mats where appropriate, and giving it a hoover and wipe-down once in a while with suitable interior-cleaning products.

Following the above tips should help your van to run smoothly and keep its resale value, whether you plan to trade it or keep it.

Looking After Your Van This Winter

pine row path

If you are not planning to use your van every day through the winter months, it is vital to take certain precautions. Protecting your vehicle during the colder months will ensure it can be used again at the start of spring. To help you with this task, go through the following tips and use them as a checklist.

Check the antifreeze level on a weekly basis and if needed, add the coolant mixture as appropriate. Another most common cause of breakdowns in winter is the battery. If your battery is older than 5 years, it may be time to replace it with a new one.

You should also check that all your lights work properly. If necessary, carry spare bulbs just in case. Your van’s tyres should have at least 2mm of tread. For convenience, you can opt for winter tyres as they improve safety.

As damp and condensation are most likely to build up inside of your can over the winter months, you may end up with mouldy carpets and seats. If left untreated, the bodyshell of your vehicle can get damaged. To prevent this from happening, open the windows to circulate air every once in a while and place a bowl of salt inside the van for dehumidifying reasons.

If you are not going to be driving your van very often in the winter months, certain areas of the vehicle may get damaged or cracked. It is best to keep the van in an enclosed garage in order to prevent tyre damage. But by far the simplest way to reduce stress to the vehicle is to move it every so often as this ensures different parts of the vehicle are on the move. Don’t forget to check the van’s tyre pressure as this will help preserve the tyres over winter.

By taking the above precautions, you can rest assured that your van will stay in tip top condition throughout the winter months.

 

Creating an Emergency Winter Car Kit

canstockphoto10035584

During the Winter you are more likely to suffer a car breakdown than at any other time of year. Luckily you can equip your vehicle so that you are prepared for all the most likely eventualities. As well as all the usual items that you should regularly carry year round in your car there are several things that prove extra useful during the cold Winter months that could be a lifesaver should you encounter problems in inclement weather.

Throughout the year you should always be sure to carry practical items such as a warning triangle, spare bulbs for all your car lights and a first aid kit to deal with any emergency treatment that may be required. During the Winter you should also consider carrying the following to assist you in the event of snow, ice or extreme cold:

A blanket to keep you warm while waiting for emergency assistance to arrive. Temperatures can drop quickly once the engine cuts out so wrapping up warmly is vital. A reflective jacket would also be useful to wear while waiting by the roadside for the rescue crew to make you easier to see in bad weather or in the dark. A torch (with spare batteries) would be a great help in this situation too.

A shovel to help dig yourself out of any snow drifts you may encounter. This may be especially useful if driving in hilly or rural areas. Some spare carpet or cardboard would assist in giving traction to your wheels on icy surfaces. Some salt or sand would also be helpful in these circumstances to help clear ice around your vehicle and get you moving again.

An ice scraper, de-icer and spare screen wash are essential items to carry with you. Temperatures can often drop quickly and you need to be sure that your windows are completely clear and ice free before driving.

A tow rope and snow chains are helpful items to carry with you in the event of snow especially if you live or are planning to travel in remote areas.

3 Ways to Look After Your Van Tyres This Winter

snow

Whether you love it or hate it, winter is here, and as per usual it’s likely to bring rain, snow and ice. Challenging driving conditions mean that it’s more important than ever to keep your tyres in good condition. Apart from regularly checking the depth of the tyre tread, what else do you need to do to look after your van tyres?

 

1.Check Your Tyre Pressure

Keeping your van’s tyres inflated to the correct pressure is vital for several reasons:

Safety
When your tyres are under-inflated, your van will not handle as well, so putting yourself and other road users at risk. If they are over-inflated, they may overheat and will be at increased risk of failing.

The Environment
The second reason to keep your tyres inflated to the correct pressure is to protect the environment. If the tyres are under-inflated, your van’s fuel efficiency will be lower, and its CO2 emissions will be higher.

Save yourself some money
Vans with under-inflated tyres have increased rolling resistance and so use more fuel than they need to. Over-inflated tyres are at greater risk of damage and are likely to need replacing more often.

 

2.Check for Damage

Some common reasons for cuts and tears on your tyres include impact between the tyre and the kerb or driving over potholes or other irregularities on the road surface. If you spot any damage, get your tyre checked as soon as possible as the tyre will be at increased risk of failing. Kerbing can also cause wheels to get out of alignment and lead to further uneven wear on the tyres. Heavy emergency braking can also result in “flat spots” on the tyre, so if you have had to brake sharply, get your tyres checked soon.

 

3.Your tyres are your responsibility

New regulations including the Duty of Care and Corporate and Social Responsibility place responsibility squarely on the driver of the vehicle for checking that it is maintained in a safe condition. Keep yourself and other road users as safe as possible this winter by making fortnightly tyre inspections part of your regular van maintenance.